The Green Bay Packers' 2012 has truly been a roller-coaster ride. The team struggled early as it tried to impose a new identity as a much more balanced team. It was rough going early, but the Packers have won nine of 10 games to have a chance for the second seed in the NFC playoffs.
The season has been filled with frustrating and infuriating moments, but there have been equal moments of joy and pride. This Packers team gives you reasons to cheer for them. They have handled themselves with class throughout the year, especially during trying times early in the year.
While Packers fans hope the season has much more to provide, here are some of the best moments that have happened through 15 games.
Tom Crabtree is one of the most beloved members of the Packers organization because of his uncanny ability to connect with fans. He's truly displayed and revealed himself as one of the good guys. There's no question it wasn't just that much sweeter Crabtree was the one who scored on the Packers' 27-yard fake field goal touchdown.
In a tight division game, the Packers needed a spark. Instead of kicking a second Mason Crosby field goal (he was making them at this point), McCarthy went to the trick play. While the Packers and fans were cheering, Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears looked stunned. This moment was worth the looks on their faces alone.
Not only did the play give the Packers a lead by a fan favorite, it helped change the meaning of 4th-and-26, even if slightly. Those words used to be forbidden at Lambeau Field, but now the Packers at least have a positive memory of a 4th-and-26 play.
Regardless of how the Packers do in their other 14 games, they better beat the Bears. In the first meeting of the season, they made sure of this by destroying Jay Cutler and intercepting him four times while making the Bears look below average.
Tramon Williams got things underway in the second quarter as his interception led to a Packers field goal. Charles Woodson got the second one early in the third quarter to swing momentum back to the Packers. Williams got his second of the day early in the fourth quarter before Jerron McMillian ended the day with his last interception.
Beating the Bears and forcing Cutler into a terrible day made the Bears' hot start bearable. While the Bears went 7-1 in their first eight games, Packers fans still had the right to talk trash about that one in the loss column.
The Packers entered Week 4 following the emotional outcome of the Fail Mary needing a win to steady the ship and get back to .500. With a raucous Lambeau Field still reeling, a few questionable calls made things even more hostile for desperate Packers fans.
Behind it all, the Packers battled the New Orleans Saints throughout and took a 28-27 lead late in the game.
The Saints drove down the field looking to win the game. With just about three minutes left in the game, Garrett Hartley delivered on a 43-yard field goal. Flags. Holding on the Saints. Lambeau breathed a collective sigh of relief, but Mike Daniels gave five yards back with an encroachment.
Hartley's kick from 48 yards was no good, and the Packers were able to run out the clock.
A loss in that game would have been hard to overcome. While dealing with the NFL's biggest faux pas in recent memory, the Packers and the fans needed to win that game. Like all things this season, it had to be dramatic, but it worked out.
Through the first five weeks of the season, nothing came easy for the Packers. They stumbled, with a 2-3 record, into a prime-time matchup against the NFL's best team at the time. Not only did the Packers get their much-needed win, they destroyed the Houston Texans with a 42-24 victory.
Aaron Rodgers put together his finest performance of the season with six touchdown passes (the Bears only scored six points against Houston). Jordy Nelson caught three touchdown passes, James Jones had two of his own and Tom Crabtree got into the end zone once again.
The win was a huge confidence boost for the Packers as they went on to win five straight and now nine of their last 10 games. Before dismantling the Tennessee Titans, this was the Packers' most convincing win of the season.
The Packers have recently dominated the NFC North, having not lost in the division since Dec. 12th, 2010. While their 13-0 record over that time is impressive, it hasn't always come easily. This was the case in Week 11 in Detroit. The Lions took a 20-14 lead with 4:25 left in the game.
Aaron Rodgers led the Packers down the field on the ensuing drive before throwing up a lobbed pass into the end zone. Randall Cobb fought off two defenders to come down with the football for the go-ahead score.
The Packers proved they can win a close game down the stretch while at the same time burying the Lions in an even deeper hole at 4-6. With the comeback victory, the Packers were able to keep the NFC North winning streak alive and reel off three more division wins.
Coming into Week 14 against the Detroit Lions, Alex Green was expected to get the start with James Starks injured and unavailable.
On the Packers' first play from scrimmage, they handed off for an 11-yard gain with incredible burst. Most were confused, helped by NBC's commentators saying it was Alex Green, that the number on the jersey was 26 rather than Green's 20.
Turns out it was DuJuan Harris, who had been recently promoted from the practice squad, and the Packers weren't done displaying him. Harris finished the game carrying the ball seven times for 31 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown run.
Harris has been a key contributor over the last three weeks of the season with 20 carries for 87 yards and two scores. His addition seems to have added a spark to the running game and refreshed fans with a fresh face to root for during games.
Beating the Chicago Bears is always a great thing, but beating them in Week 15 was especially sweet. Since 2010, the Packers have now won the NFC Championship trophy and NFC North division title at Solider Field. It would have been nice to celebrate those things in front of the fans at Lambeau Field, but this provided a nice way to rub in the Packers' success.
The Bears chattered throughout the week, trashing the Packers as a team and as individuals. The Packers remained largely silent until Sunday when they let their play do the talking. They took a big lead and held off the Bears to clinch a playoff spot.
The Packers had to deal with trailing the Bears in the NFC North throughout most of the season, but it was all worth it with this game.
The Packers put together their best complete game of the season by beating the Tennessee Titans 55-7 in Week 16. While it was against a Titans team that looked dead in the water, it was pleasing for Packers fans to watch a performance that encompassed all three phases of the team and totally blow out an inferior opponent.
The Packers scored seven offensive touchdowns and got two field goals from Mason Crosby as they took a 55-0 lead. While the Packers failed to complete the shutout by allowing the Titans to score in the final minute, the defense dominated. They held Jake Locker to a halftime quarterback rating of 0.0.
There was no match for what the Packers put together against the Titans. The game turned into a holiday party at Lambeau Field, with the Titans being the laughable entertainment.